Tuesday, February 26, 2013


“Communities are places or entities where each member can give something, where they can contribute something that they feel especially able to give, something they are good at. The gift from each member is valued by the whole community and all gifts are unique and individual. The gift that the community gives back to each member is that of a role and a connection.”
—Ed Margason

What do you think about this? I remember in my twenties and early thirties, I would search for a church community more because of what I needed than because of what I had to give. I wanted to belong. I had a need for family where my family wasn't meeting those needs. Frankly, I was still growing up, but I didn't realize that. At a point it dawned on me exactly what Ed is saying, that if I wanted to fit, I had to ask myself what I had to give to, rather than what I could get from, the community I was in.

At that point I had been attending the Religious Society of Friends for over ten years. I'd already become a part of the community but not for the reasons Ed cites. I'd become a part of because the Friends (Quakers) never pushed me to become a part of. They espoused attraction rather than promotion. In other words, they lived what they believed. And this was incredibly attractive. Being a part of a community where people lived on a daily basis what they talked about on Sundays did tend to make one curious about coming back for the next episode!

What attracts you to the people you are with? Is it just familiarity with those you've been with since childhood? Do the people you are with support your spiritual vision and help you to carry out your mission in life? Do you have a mission? Do you live out of a sense of purpose, or does your life run you? Its my sense that community is a place that fosters positive growth and pulls from us the growing edge.
Sometimes other things masquerade as community.

“Some people think they are in community, but they are only in proximity. True community requires commitment and openness. It is a willingness to extend yourself to encounter and know the other.” (David Spangler) Ah, there's the catch -- commitment. One can not be a confirmed individualist and be tied to those nasty commitments! So what are you committed to? Yourself? Your family? Your God? Your job? You may say you are committed, but are your commitments in line with your beliefs? If not, I'm betting you are in a hill of conflict, every day.

This is the stuff coaching is made of...how to get life in line with one's beliefs. Living from the inside out; that's what peace is made of.

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